Ma, it has been quite a while.
So long, in fact that I moved! I have a much nicer kitchen, but the lighting is still bad. However, one of my new housemates has a cast iron skillet, which is awesomeeee!
You know what else I learned in our absence? How to shuck oysters. And it’s all thanks to a weird craving I had for mussels fra diavolo…
Fra diavolo sauce is actually pretty easy and pretty freaking delicious. There’s five ingredients, 1 key spice, and many optional spices:
The base of this sauce is shallots and garlic cooked in the delicious drippings on pancetta – “italian bacon”, as it’s called – with tomatoes and basil. Pancetta’s a good meat to use when pairing with things like muscles because while flavorful and fatty in just the right way, it isn’t smokey, so the taste is subtle enough without overpowering your fish pairing.
To take your sauce from fra delcious to fra diavolo, you have to only add one spice: crushed red pepper flakes.
But I also put in some salt, pepper, oregano… Now. Let’s talk about shucking oysters. First of all, I watched 3 different YouTube videos to figure out how and this one was the best. Also I found this guy kind of cute, which helps with the learning process.
Interestingly enough, I was inspired to make fried oysters after talking to my little brother. Mussels only come in 2lb bags, so I had to buy either clams or oysters. I don’t really like clams, so I asked the guy at the seafood counter if I could steam oysters, and he said yeah! Well, when I got home I called my little brother, since he used to be the seafood chef at a restaurant, and he said under no circumstances should you ever steam oysters – either raw, or fry ’em.
And so, after watching YouTube, wrapping my hands in towels, and scrubbing some oysters, I got to shucking. Here’s a hint: get a proper oyster shucking knife. Luckily, I kept all of my fingers, and managed to shuck all five oysters!
So after soaking oysters in milk (a tip I learned from one of the YouTube videos), I dredged them through “spicy” flour – basically flour, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Then fried them in some olive oil! Set them on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Top your pasta with the fra diavolo sauce, set the oysters on top, et voila!
Fried Oysters Fra Diavolo (FOFD!)
- 5 medium oysters, shucked
- 1 shallot
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 roma tomatoes
- fresh basil
- dried oregano
- red pepper flakes
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
Begin by shucking oysters. Watch a video first, or give them to someone with knife and know-how. Place shucked oysters in milk to soak and set aside. Dice shallot and tomatoes. Mince garlic and roughly chop basil. Heat up 1 tbsp olive oil. Brown pancetta for a few minutes. Add in shallots and garlic. Cook a few minutes until shallots are tender. Mix in oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for a minute. Add tomato and basil. Cook until tomatoes are soft. Set aside, and put on pasta water + salt to boil. Cook pasta to al dente while you fry the oysters. Mix flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and salt. Remove oysters from milk. Dredge each oyster through ‘spicy flour’ then place in a skillet of olive oil pre-heated over medium-high heat. Fry a few minutes on each side until crisp, then top pasta with fra diovolo sauce and fried oysters. Enjoy!